Skip Navigation
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Low Power Microrobotics Utilizing Biologically Inspired Energy Generation

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

In this Phase I study, the study team will investigate the usability of a microbial fuel cell to power a small microrover, design low-power electronics for effective power management of this system, and develop an efficient low-power non-traditional locomotion system to propel the lightweight vehicle forward.

Description: building a small microrover that employs energy generated by a bacterial source Objective: investigate the usability of a microbial fuel cell to power a small microrover, design low-power electronics for effective power management, and develop an efficient low-power non-traditional locomotion system to propel the light-weight vehicle forward The Naval Research Lab is developing a 1 kilogram microrover that utilizes a novel power system concept – bacteria! Certain microbes can be harvested to effectively change chemical sugars into electricity through a fuel cell, which can provide a higher power density than a traditional lithium-ion battery. This process will be used to slowly build up a storage of electricity, which will provide a burst of energy to the vehicle's novel hopping or rolling mobility system. In this Phase I study, the study team will investigate the usability of a microbial fuel cell to power a small microrover, design low-power electronics for effective power management of this system, and develop an efficient low-power non-traditional locomotion system to propel the lightweight vehicle forward. Small microrovers with this power system could one day support long-duration research studies on planetary surfaces without the need for large solar panels or complex power systems. (This is a project within the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, NIAC, program.)

More »

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Share this Project

Organizational Responsibility

Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

Light bulb

Suggest an Edit

Recommend changes and additions to this project record.

This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.

^